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Using Smart Simplicity to tackle complex global challenges: Chronic child hunger in Tanzania

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This paper explores a new way of tackling global problems that are complex by nature using an approach that creates an environment in which people work together in a different way. A clear illustration of the power of this approach - based on state-of-the-art findings in the social sciences - in developing innovative solutions that lead to greater impact is chronic child hunger and the stunting that results from it, which is the focus for this paper. In many countries, stunting affects more than 30-40% of children, and is responsible for severe and long-lasting health, social and economic problems. We argue that the reason such problems persist is that as there is no single, simple solution, the response is often to create new structures, processes and systems, which adds counterproductive layers of complicatedness on top of the initial complexity of the challenge. Instead, what is needed is to shape the context and, as a result, the behaviours of all actors. We call this approach Smart Simplicity. Rather than add to complexity, the idea is to work with existing stakeholders and within existing structures and to foster collaboration. And while this paper focuses on chronic child hunger and stunting, this is an approach that can be applied to a wide range of complex problems.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2019

This article was made available online on December 4, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Using Smart Simplicity to tackle complex global challenges: Chronic child hunger in Tanzania".

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